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Audi records healthy surplus, launches new products
Audi’s Vorsprung durch Technik
By Chidi Emmanuel
INGOLSTADT, Germany: In the midst of the turbulent global economic woos, 2011 was the most successful year for Audi as it surpasses the 1.3 million mark in the number of new cars delivered to its customers. The auto giant successfully launched 12 exquisite models onto the market ranging from a compact SUV to a full size luxury sedan. Audi sales revenues reached 44.1 billion euros- an increase of 24.4% in 2010.
“The premium class/mid and full-size luxury segment have shown a marked increase from 25 to 40% over the past three years. Also, we set a new record with our operating profit in 2011, which at 5.3 billion euros exceeded the 2010 figure by more than 60%. Our operating profit margin increased to 12.1%- a new record,” Rupert Stadler, the chairman of the board of management of Audi AG said. Audi Chief Financial Officer Axel Strotbek attributed the above-par rise revenue to a significant higher-grade model mix.
“Demand for Audi vehicles in the full-size and luxury segment grew considerably. Positive factors included the high popularity of the new A8, the new-generation A6 and the new A7 Sportback. This boost is also credited to the Audi bands’ rising prestige and image ratings worldwide,” Strotbek said. He reiterated that the healthy rise in the financial result was as a result of the positive effects from the measurement of the hedging transactions as well as from higher interest income, among other factors.
“The past fiscal year also saw us achieve a substantial improvement in the return on investments. This ratio reached the new record figure of over 35% compared with 25% in 2010. In 2010, we financed all investments entirely from our own resources. And with a net cash flow of some 3.4 billion euros, we were still left with a healthy surplus. This translates that we still have a substantial financial cushion that will continue to allow us to steadily increase our technological lead and realize our growth target,” he added.
On deliveries, Stadler said that Audi not only exceeded the previous year’s record, it also recorded a tremendous growth in 2011, delivering 1,302,659 cars to its customers. “Never before has Audi achieved a single-year increase of 210,000 vehicles. This represents a 19.2% boost. Audi’s rapid growth took us to a major step closer to achieving our interim goal of delivering 1.5 million cars in 2015. With the pace of our growth, we are optimistic that we will surpass that target even sooner,” he said.
Audi also recorded a remarkable growth in global regions with a comfortable double-digit –35.3% growth in Asia; 42.7% increase in South America. It sets a new sales record in more than 50 markets – posting a double-digit increase in all Top-10 markets thus widening the gap between its competitors.
“China moved into the top spot on our rankings for the first time with the delivery of 313,036 units - a 37.3% increase, seconded by Germany where Audi returned to its pre-crisis level with over 250,000 vehicles. US ranked third, with an increase of 15.7% translating to 117,561 units,” the chairman added. 2011 was a successful year for the Audi brand and its Lamborghini subsidiary. The luxury Italian carmaker delivered 1,602 high-performance sports cars to customers- a 23% more than the previous year.
“In the Chinese market, Audi is aiming to achieve another double digit growth again in 2012. This will bring us to a major step closer to our declared objective of delivering a two-millionth car in the country by the year 2013. In US, Audi has also made the diesel respectable as an efficient drive technology. In just 3 years, the share of diesel vehicles in A3 and A7 sales has increased from 1 to 50 percent. The outlooks is good, by 2015, we plan to double our sale of diesel engines in the US. To this end, we will be launching the A8 TD1 and A6 TB1 in 2013. In 2014, the Q5 Diesel will make its premiere on the US market,” the Audi Chief Financial Officer added.
The Audi Chairman sees a great growth potential in the Middle East especially in the GCC region where a tremendous growth has been recorded. “We see great potential in the Middle East region. There was a massive rise in demand for Audi products and we intend to consolidate and improve on that record. We are planning to build a huge showroom in Kuwait,” the chairman confirmed.
At the end of 2011, Audi boosted its workforce by 5.7%. Over 63,800 people are currently working for the auto giant. “Audi family is growing. Our employees are the key to our success. With their passion and commitment, they create products that get people moving”, Stadler said.
LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
What makes Audi brand so unique? “Certainly the car’s sporty character, no compromise quality, attractive design and technical competency of the brand with 4-ring badge lift it above all its competitors. Our projects and developments have a clearly defined objective - to add to the sporty character to our products while taking the future of individual mobility and the economical use of the resources into account. This is the spirit in which the brand with the 4-ring badge will maintain its Vorsprung durch Technik in years to come,” the Chairman said as he unveiled seven new projects.
AUDI WIRELESS CHARGING
Audi is working on the future of ‘electromobility’ –on its e-tron models. This brand pursues a comprehensive concept that included every aspect, including recharging the traction battery. Other projects includes the Garage parking Pilot; Organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology; hybrid body materials; Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP); multitouch control systems and predictive suspension.